How does church make you feel?
Weird first question? Perhaps.
I want to know how you feel about it. Do you feel uncomfortable? Why?
(**I would love feedback here…in comments!**)
I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I’m still there. For me it is because I feel like people can see me (duh…right?). I don’t like people looking at me because I feel like they are judging me in some way. In my early church days I would do whatever would make me blend in the most. Whatever those around me were doing I would do. This way I would be safe from judgement. I couldn’t wait to “put my time in” in order to grow in my faith (that’s how I thought it worked ya know….). My relationship with God wasn’t deep. I saw him as some guy keeping tabs on my rights and wrongs. Impossible to please.
As I’ve grown into a deeper relationship with Jesus I have become more comfortable with myself. Going to church can still be intimidating and scary. I can sometimes feel like if I don’t wear certain clothes or always smile or say the right things then I don’t belong there. I can feel like I won’t be welcome because I don’t fit the typical “christian” model. But truthfully I think a lot of these things are stories I tell myself. Not true at all.
Lets start with this:
It’s important to understand who God is not.
He is not uncaring. He is not judgmental of your appearance. God does not want to see you fail or struggle. Our Father is not trying to catch you between a rock and hard place and point his finger and say “you’ve messed up again.” He doesn’t need us to try to impress him with our religious acts or fancy dressing. God doesn’t look at our outer appearance.
It’s even more important to know who God is.
(And you may wonder why I’m not throwing fancy scripture in here because God’s word is chalked full of his love, grace, and mercy. I will list a few verses at the end but my point is: these are truths I know not only from God’s word but from experience.)
God is good. All he wants for us is to live a life full of love, joy, peace, and rest in him. He wants us to be so full of him that it pours out onto others giving them the hope that you have come to find in Him. He wants our heart. That’s all.
Why am I writing this?
Through my faith journey I have come to realize some things (besides what was mentioned above):
I have tattoos. My ears are stretched. If work would allow I would have funky colored hair and piercings all over, but hey…girl’s gotta pay bills. This is who I am. I enjoy these things. I am not seeking attention nor do I find it makes me “rad” or whatever word you want to insert here. This is just what I like.
Unfortunately there are some people in the church who think this is against what the bible says. They look at people like me (if they can see the tattoos) and they think I am a trouble maker, of the devil, or some other sort of nonsense.
The bible actually states:
“You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves, for I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:28
So, many commentaries skip over this verse for whatever reason. This verse actually was directed towards the Gentiles because they would cut and tattoo themselves when their people passed away in worship of their idols and to offer their mourning.
Since this is skipped over and everyone likes to give their opinion on this topic, I will give mine and the reason for it.
My opinion on tattoos and piercings:
(or colored hair, black clothes, or anything else you may be deemed “unChristian” for)
Our bodies are still temples of God.
Are you getting these things to draw in people’s attention?
Are you still being modest with your dress?
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gently and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3-4
I believe that God really doesn’t care what you look like from the outside. It doesn’t make you a terrible person because you like to decorate what he has given you. Sure, he doesn’t want you to go into debt or put your family in a bad position in order to finance your art and he doesn’t want you to do things to draw attention to yourself in a sinful way. This is all understandable.
But his primary objective is your heart.
God loves who you are as a person.
People might still look at you with judgement.
Even if it’s only because you feel more comfortable wearing jeans and a hoodie to church.
Let that be on them. That’s what I say.
I’m not here to please them.
I’m here to please my God. My healer and redeemer. The lover of my soul.
What others think is between them and God.
God knows who I am and that I love him with all I have.
So go to church and be unapologeticaly you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” – Matthew 1:28
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from life to death.” – John 5:24
Your life should reflect who God is. Don’t mix my words. Your relationship with God has to be one that fears and respects him. Being dependent on him and having faith and trust that what he says is true and what he does is just.
Follow his commands and truly give your life to him in surrender.
Come to him with a pure heart. A heart that desires him.
HE won’t turn you away.
He just wants you there.
(for reference of Gods grace and mercy)
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting you to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:9
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” -James 1:17
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” – John 3:16-17
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11